Today is International Girls in ICT Day and Cisco has been celebrating all month long by hosting fun and instructive mentoring events that have been designed to help to educate young women about careers in information and communications technology (ICT).  With over 70 events taking place globally from Belarus to Boxborough, one thing is clear – girls love technology!  Let’s work together to keep it that way.

As the world transforms into a more connected network of people, processes, data and things, there are unprecedented opportunities for countries, businesses and individuals, as well as for society at large. However, for the Internet of Everything to become a reality, we need a highly trained and ICT-skilled workforce of the future.

Take for example the startling statistics released by the White House that women today currently earn 41% of PhD’s in STEM fields, but make up only 28% of tenure-track faculty in those fields.  Additionally, there has been a steep decline in the number of female graduates with computer science degrees over the past three decades. According to the U.S. Department of Education, the number of computer science degrees awarded to women peaked at 37 percent between 1984 and 1985. Compare this to only 18 percent of the degrees awarded to women in the period between 2008 and 2011.

The time to address these challenges is now, and Cisco, we are taking several steps to do just that, starting by becoming a founding partner in US2020.  We have pledged to encourage 20 percent of our workforce to spend 20 hours a year on STEM mentoring by the year 2020, with a particular emphasis on encouraging women and girls to enter STEM.

The power of mentorship is more important today than ever to help young girls and women not only remain passionate about science, technology, engineering and math but also to believe that they, too, will be the future leaders in these fields.   Don’t just take my word for it, please check out this video that captures some insights and advice from some impressive Cisco leaders that encourage young girls and women to chart a course for their career in technology.

Future STEM leaders include your daughters, your sisters, your wives, your employees and your students.  What are you personally doing to mentor and empower them?


Blair Christie

Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer